This is an artist's description of Indra.
Click on image for full size
Windows to the Universe original image
In the Rig Veda, which is a collection of antique Hindu hymns, Indra is
described as the king of the gods. He has authority over the sky and the power to make rain using his weapon, the thunderbolt
. Indra is depicted as a man with
four long arms riding a white elephant. He is the god of battle. Before each battle,
he becomes intoxicated with a divine drink of mysterious origin called soma.
Indra's indulgence in drinking soma makes his belly a disproportionate size. It is said that the juice, soma, empowers him to accomplish his mythological tasks. Indra's major attribute is his strength. He is the heroic figure responsible for slaying the serpent
Vritra had swallowed the cosmic waters bringing a tremendous drought in the
world. Indra split the belly of the serpent with his thunderbolt releasing the waters and generating life. Unfortunately, the approval for this episode is shadowed by other humiliating stories, like the seduction of Ahalya. Ahalya was the wife of the sage
Gautama. To seduce Gautama's wife, Indra dressed himself as the sage and went to
Ahalya's house to have intercourse with her.
The woman recognized the king of the gods but she accepted him anyway. When Gautama found out about the adultery, he cursed his wife and the king of he gods. As a result of the curse, Indra lost his testicles and
Ahalya had to live in hermitage. Indra was a parallel of the Greek sky god Zeus.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
includes issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist
, full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science, ranging from seismology
, rocks and minerals
, and Earth system science
You might also be interested in:
Thunderstorms are one of the most thrilling and dangerous types of weather phenomena. Over 40,000 thunderstorms occur throughout the world each day. Thunderstorms form when very warm, moist air rises into...more
Ahsonnutli was the sky father and chief deity of the Navajo Indians. He created heaven, Earth, and the sky. Each of the four cardinal directions was supported by a giant. Each direction was also associated...more
Amphitrite was one of the fifty Nereids, the attendants of the sea-god Poseidon. Poseidon (Neptune) had fallen in love with Amphitrite after seeing her dancing on the island of Naxos. Amphitrite rejected...more
Aphrodite was the Greek goddess of love and beauty. She was known to the Romans as Venus. There were actually two different Aphrodites, one was the daughter of Uranus, the other the daughter of Zeus and...more
In Greek mythology, Apollo was the son of Jupiter(in Greek Zeus) and Leto (Letona). He was the god of the Sun, logic, and reason, and was also a fine musician and healer. Leto travelled all over Greece...more
According to an ancient Greek legend, the figure of a gigantic crab was placed in the nighttime sky by the goddess Hera to form the constellation Cancer. Hera was the jealous wife of the sky god, Zeus....more
In the Northern Hemisphere sky is the constellation Cepheus, king of Ethiopia, and that of his wife Cassiopeia. Cassiopeia claimed that she and her daughter Andromeda were more beautiful than the sea nymphs,...more